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Social Work for Children and Youth with Special Needs, Vietnam National University

Time: July 27 - Aug 5, 2009
Location: University of Social Sciences and Humanities – Hanoi, Vietnam


This course will provide students with a general overview of the various categories of special needs of children and adolescents. The course will cover the theoretical foundations of social work as they apply to working with children youth and families; children and youth who are abused or neglected, children with developmental or genetic disabilities, health problems, emotional/behavioral problems, and problems arising from victimization and trauma. Each class will focus on a particular type of special need, relevant assessment procedures, treatment objectives, current practices, and the roles of social workers in various settings for these children, youth and families. Methods of teaching will include class notes, lectures, class discussion, and small group exercises designed to promote critical thinking and understanding of the relevance of the topics to students’ own work in the field. Those class participants who work with children or youth and their families are invited to discuss examples from their work throughout the classes.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the course students will be expected to

--Articulate the theoretical foundations of social work practice for children, youth and families

--Discuss the major characteristics of each of the special needs covered in the class

--Critically evaluate current practices and be able to differentiate practices for various types of need

--Identify assessment procedures and treatment objectives pertinent to each of the special needs

--Apply the social work perspective to working with children, youth and families in various settings

--Apply or adapt the concepts of the course to the needs of children, youth and families in Vietnam


Webb, Nancy Boyd. (2003). Social work practice with children (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.

While it is difficult to find one text book that covers all the possible special needs of children that social workers encounter in the field, this book is a very popular and highly recommended source of information about emotional and behavioral problems with children and young adolescents. The concepts, principles and techniques here can be applied to social work interventions for many special needs.